Mary's musings

Mary Hoffman, author of over 90 children's books, including the Stravaganza series and Amazing Grace, has begun a web journal which will be updated roughly once a week. You can read more on

Monday, May 16, 2005

Gathering lilacs in the spring

I don't know why my last blog got published twice nor why I wrote that I signed "boos" rather than books, but I hope you got the general idea. I don't know who reads this stuff anyway, but I did get an e-mail from another children's writer who had been at the Hatchards party and there were apparently others there, including Jonathan Stroud, who wrote the Bartimaeus trilogy.

During the last fortnight, we have located and put a deposit on a lilac tortie (tortoiseshell) Burmese girl, who currently lives near Gatwick. Her pedigree name is Moonstone but she will be Lila to us (the "i" has a circumflex but I can't do that in blogtext). And we are going to see a blue boy next weekend in Suffolk. So we should have all three in July.

The lilacs are out in force in our garden and smell heavenly. My mother thought it was unlucky to have them in the house but I am trying not to believe that. "Now that the lilacs are in bloom/she has a bowl of lilacs in her room," wrote Eliot in his Portrait of a Lady. A negative association for him I think, considering he thought April "cruel" for breeding them out of the dead earth. I wonder if his first wife Vivien brought them indoors? Unlucky for her, certainly.

Wisteria is also out and making me wistful that we are wisterialess; we had such a fabulous one in London before the subsidence, when it was grubbed up and we were banned from having any more. We're now planning to put one in the back garden here, outside my study.

The big literary news of the week is that I have started my adult novel, written aboiut 8,000 words of it in fact, in spite of daughterly housing crisis, visits from carpet man, tiler and electrician etc etc. And the wisteria came in handy. I have no idea what sort of a novel it is and whether anyone will buy it. I don't mean members of the reading public but publishers. We shall see.

I can't believe we going on holiday in less than three weeks. Umbria is our destination, where I shall do some research for The Falconer's Knot and some serious reading by the pool. Meantime, our house will be full of Rhiannon and her friends having a games convention. Fantasy all round.